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This is a great post. I've never seen any of the movies, but I understand what you mean. Being positive is a way to cope with the difficulties of life. Positive thinking is a habit though for most people. I naturally tend to be negative and pessemistic. It has not served me well at all. It is a leaning that has hurt my life. Positive thinking can really turn your life around, it has mine!

I think Pollyanna the character represents a rather lovely awareness of it all and makes the empowering choice to focus and expect the best while not turning a blind eye to the rest. I think she gets a bad rap because it seems inconceivable that it is authentic. I think of it this way, her life filter was clear and that allowed her to see things for what they are but not hold on to feelings that opposed her nature and outlook. When our life filters are clouded over we see through a lens that doesn't allow for such clarity of thought because we don't truly see the big picture. I am a fan of the term and will proudly wear the Pollyanna label any chance I get.

Thanks for such an interesting, well-thought out post. It was both a pleasure to read it and to think about the concepts presented. :)

Dandy - Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed reading this one. Positive thinking is something a lot of people struggle with (including me!) and I think few people realize what a difference it can make in your life. A lot of people think positive thinking is naive, but it's not about ignoring what is -- it's about acceptance and making the most of what's around you.

CC - Great analysis of Pollyanna! She definitely gets a bad rap because people don't believe someone like her could be real; they don't see the realistic possibility of looking for the good in everything. What people don't always realize is that positivity doesn't mean you're not recognizing what's wrong with the world -- it means you're seeing that and then choosing to focus on what's good in your life. I'm happy that you'll proudly where the Pollyanna label. She really is an inspiring character and, even though she goes through some really tough times, in the end she always sees the good around her. That's exactly the kind of person I aspire to be!

Actually, I think this is essentially the moral of the book. I always interpreted the ending as saying that, before, Pollyanna had just looked for the good in things and not truly thought through or dealt with anything. But at the end, she was faced with something she couldn't just dismiss, and had to learn to be positive ANYWAY, even though she couldn't choose not to deal with it.

Aurora - Thanks for your comment! You're right -- there's a turning point in the story in which Pollyanna must face some dire circumstances that challenge her positive outlook. Her ability to struggle with negativity and overcome it truly is the moral of the story.

I'm a fan of positive action over positive thoughts.

One thing that surprised me is that the key to optimism is not positivity, but simply non-negativity.

J.D. - Good points! Positive thoughts alone won't really make our lives what we want them to be; we also must incorporate positive action. And your comment about non-negativity also touches on another very important concept -- to live a positive life we cannot simply focus on what's good but must also use our thoughts to avoid thinking negatively.

I think you would really like the Mike Leigh film Happy-go-lucky, if you haven't yet seen it! :)

Stephanie - I'll have to check it out! Thanks for mentioning it.

Being positive is, well, a very positive thing..... But to someone who is suffering serious difficulties that are REALITY, encountering someone who is positive to the point of living in denial is a very frustrating, invalidating, nonsupportive force to encounter. Living with a life threatening disease, death of a loved one, or severe financial difficulties do not go away by pretending "everything is wonderful". People suffering tragedies need acknowlegement, and comforting, not pollyanna like denial.

Kathy - I completely agree. Being positive is important, but it's not everything. And it's also not ignoring the things that are happening in reality. Being positive means taking whatever situation you're faced with and making the most of it. No matter how terrible or heartbreaking something is, I really believe that focusing on the negative doesn't help the situation at all. Positivity is the element of life that incorporates acknowledgement, comforting, and true love for others.

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